When I Crossed No-Bob: Adrienne Furness

Set in rural Mississippi during the hard years of Reconstruction, this novel follows the life of 12-year-old Addy O’Donnell. Abandoned by her parents, she is taken in by a pair of newlyweds, in spite of Mr. Frank’s concern that the O’Donnells are “trouble.” Addy knew hunger and mistreatment in No-Bob, the hollow claimed by her notorious extended family, but she feels a loyalty to them even as she begins to thrive in her new surroundings. Life takes another unexpected turn, though, when a new friend is killed in a church burning perpetrated by the newly formed Ku Klux Klan and then Addy’s father shows up a few days later to take her home. Addy loves her pappy, but back in No-Bob, she begins to see the truth of his actions and nature and she realizes that she is going to have to make a decision that will determine the course of the rest of her life. While there are countless novels set during the Civil War, few focus on Reconstruction. This era in which the South was forced to reevaluate itself serves as a handy metaphor for Addy as she reevaluates her own life. McMullan fills her engrossing, character-driven story with well-chosen details that paint a clear, believable picture of a time long past. This will make a fine addition to libraries seeking to expand their historical fiction offerings.